The Challenge of Men doing Playback Theatre in North America:
A Workshop Case Study
By Chris Fitz, for the 2014 Centre for Playback Theatre Leadership Course. Quote with citation.
I didn’t know what exhausted me emotionally until that moment…I realized that the experience of being a soldier, with unlimited license for excess, excessive violence, excessive sex, was a blueprint for self-destruction. Because then I began to wake up to the idea that manhood, as passed on to me by my father, my scoutmaster, my gym instructor, my army sergeant, that vision of manhood was a blueprint for self-destruction and a lie, and that was a burden that I was no longer able to carry.
Utah Phillips, “The Violence Within” (1992)
Where are the men? This essay began with a practical and timely question. The Playback Theatre company I founded in South Central Pennsylvania seven years ago is now finally thriving and growing with nine committed core members. But apart from the musician and me, the rest were women. Our troupe wasn’t alone in this dynamic. Without a comprehensive survey, the majority of volunteer Playback Theatre troupes I know in North America seem to share this challenge. Like Pete Seeger did after the US-Korean War in 1955, I find myself lamenting, “where have all the young men gone?”